By Randy Renner
"I've never seen anything like it," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks as he watched two more of his players go down again with injuries during Monday's practice. This time backup point guard Reggie Jackson and shooting guard Jeremy Lamb had to be helped off the practice court.
Jackson couldn't put any weight on his right foot and left a team meeting on crutches. Lamb walked slowly and stiffly out of the meeting being assisted by a trainer.
Brooks said Jackson, "twisted his ankle and Jeremy hurt his back."
Brooks said he had not spoken with the medical staff yet and so didn't know how severe either injury was.
"It's part of the game, it's something you can't control," he said of all the injuries. "We just have to continue to prepare and that's all we can do. Injuries are a part of it."
So far this training camp injuries have been a huge part, most of the headlines have been injury related with Kevin Durant's surprise surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot the biggest one.
At least today both Andre Roberson and Perry Jones were back at practice. Each missed Saturday's work because of a tweaked ankle (Roberson) and a sore right knee (Jones).
Their return came at a good time with Jackson and Lamb going out, otherwise the Thunder would have only seven healthy players, as it is they just have nine.
Brooks came into today thinking he was pretty sure what the starting lineup would be Wednesday night at Portland and how the rotation would look, but now, not so much.
"A lot of it's gonna depend now on some of the injuries and how guys are able to come back and integrate back with the team and the conditioning and getting the rust off. So there are a lot of things that are still up in the air."
Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook said he's not frustrated by all the injuries, "it's just a part of the game but it's definitely unfortunate that guys get hurt."
Hurt or healthy the Thunder "have to find a way to win games," Westbrook said. "We have to stay together, we can't feel sorry for ourselves just play with confidence and find a way to get it done."
Unfortunately two of the team's most confident players, Durant and Jackson, may not be out there on the floor Wednesday night. Durant certainly won't be and the way Reggie looked after practice you'd have to think his chances of playing aren't very good.
So Westbrook will likely play heavy minutes and his backup will probably be free agent signee Sebastian Telfair, a guy who had a great season in China last year and wanted to get back into the NBA.
"He's another veteran, Sebastian's played in the league and he knows what it takes to win games," Westbrook pointed out, "I'm just happy he's with us."
And healthy, at least as of this writing.
Still with all the gloomy injury news Westbrook brightened up when he was asked if he's still excited about Opening Night.
"Hell yeah," he said with a big smile. "I'm excited, my teammates are excited, the coaches are excited, the building is excited, so we're ready to go."
Ready but are they able? A lot will depend on just how long that injury list is come Wednesday night.